The Oakland Athletics' trade for Starling Marte at the deadline looks more prescient than ever. A's outfielder Ramon Laureano was suspended 80 games Friday after testing positive for nandrolone, a performance-enhancing drug.
MLB announced the suspension — which will extend into next season and keep Laureano out of the playoffs — in a statement Friday. The league noted Laureano's suspension will be without pay.
Laureano issued a statement claiming he did not knowingly ingest nandrolone.
The move comes as the Athletics fight to stay in a playoff spot in the American League. At 61-48, the team currently sits in the second wild-card spot in the AL. They are ahead of the New York Yankees by just 1.5 games.
Laureano is mostly known for his excellent defense, though has contributed offensively this season. Through 378 plate appearances, Laureano is hitting .246/.317/.443, with 14 home runs. Those figures are good for a 114 wRC+, which means Laureano has been 14 percent better than league average with the bat this season.
Athletics traded for Starling Marte at the deadline
The Athletics raised some eyebrows by trading for Marte at the deadline, though the move is much easier to understand now. The team was likely aware of Laureano's positive test prior to the trade deadline, and decided to pick up Marte to fill in for the rest of the season.
With Laureano out, the Athletics will likely push Stephen Piscotty back into the starting lineup. The team also signed outfielder Khris Davis, and it's possible he could get some playing time down the stretch.
Marte is hitting .310/.407/.457 over 303 plate appearances. He's also highly regarded for his defense, and should be an upgrade over Laureano as the team fights to remain in the playoff hunt.
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